New challenges

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I’ve been a doctor for 12 years now. I’ve been a wife for 7 years and a mother for 5, but not a day goes by that I am not overwhelmed by gratitude for the opportunity to be able to do what I do.

I’m often asked what it takes to be an Eye surgeon, how long the training was, what inspired me to take it up. I’d wanted to be an Ophthalmologist since I was a first year medical student. It was not a common aspiration amongst bright eyed and bushy tailed first year students, who wanted to be doctors to save the world. Most junior medical students aspire towards life-saving specialties- Cardiology, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine. Ophthalmology is a mostly office based practice, and although it is a surgical specialty, the surgeries are mostly elective, non-emergent, and are day procedures.

Ophthalmology is a very precise specialty. The eye is a wondrous structure but it is tiny in size, and to perform surgery on it, one must be methodical, meticulous and a perfectionist. While I cannot profess to embody these traits, I certainly aspire towards them, and that drew me to Ophthalmology.

I graduated with my Medical degree in 2004, and after spending a year as a Houseman, started my Ophthalmology traineeship in 2005. I qualified as a Specialist in Ophthalmology in 2011 after completing the requisite 6 year training program, and at that point, decided to take up subspecialty training in Oculoplastic Surgery.

Oculoplastic Surgery is the field of Ophthalmology relating to the Eyelids, Eye socket (the bones that contain the eyeball and other structures like muscles, blood vessels and nerves) and Lacrimal system (the tear draining system). It fascinated me because of its great variety- there are many different types of surgery that can treat the same condition, and all work just as well. One can never be bored as an Oculoplastic Surgeon as there is just so many different techniques to learn and practise! It is also both an art and a science, because aesthetic outcomes are important in Oculoplastic Surgery, and that to me is wonderfully challenging.

I trained in Oculoplastic Surgery from 2012-2013, and thereafter worked as a senior doctor in a restructured hospital in Singapore.

This year marks the eleventh year that I have been practising Ophthalmology, and the fourth that I have been an Oculoplastic Surgeon. It also is the year that I have decided to embark on the next exciting milestone in my career: Private Practice.